Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shifting goalposts, good eating and music

On Tuesday night, Frank and I went to the Early Music Studio for their end-of-term performance. There were a wide variety of instruments and composers in a very accomplished concert. Afterwards, we were joined by P. at Frank's for a delicious pie.

There was a return match with Lorraine E. on Wednesday at Easy Tiger, the new eatery in Smith Street. The food was excellent: I had a spicy broth which was a taste sensation, then Thai fish cakes with sweet chili sauce, then a sashimi. The desserts were equally good. Definitely worth another visit to try more of the menu.

Today, I went off to the renal clinic. I really didn't expect any news, and, indeed, was told all my indicators were good and my dialysis is going well. However, it was a bit of a revelation that the blood thinners which I am taking to ease the bloodflow through the new stent (and its companion to come next week) prevent proceeding with any transplant for at least three months, and possibly up to twelve, depending on how long cardiology require the blood thinners. Ho hum! The only thing that could alter this is the need for urgent surgery, but my dialysis is going so well that this is very unlikely, according to the renal doctor. The advice from the renal nurses: don't count your chickens before they hatch, turns out to be very accurate.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Much Mozart

On Saturday, we went to the Convent market, then the mall, then to Smith Street and brunch at Provenance (next to the 7-11). It is turning into our 'regular' spot, as it is friendly, good and reasonably priced.

On Sunday, P. and I went off to a pre-concert talk at the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra. It was with Amir Farid, who was the pianist for Mozart's piano concerto no. 14 in the program. There was also a splendid Essay for Strings by Richard Mills plus Dvorak's famous Serenade for Strings in E. The whole concert was again most enjoyable. At the end, they gave out brochures for the 2011 season which looks good, though perhaps not quite enough contemporary work. We'll go anyway.

In the evening, we joined Lorraine E. for dinner at Noel T.'s. A delicious dinner with lots of good talk. Noel's op. has been delayed so that the head of department can do it, which is good news and bad (the delay that is).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Medical aftermath

On Wednesday, I got home from the hospital, ferried by Father. Thanks for that. Then P. had a successful colonoscopy and in the evening, Frank kindly brought around some delicious curries for dinner. All we had to do was provide the rice. Thanks for that too.

Today I went to the health centre to deliver the letters for Jenny B-Smith, my doctor, from the hospital and have my fortnightly Aranesp injection from Helen, the ever-helpful health centre nurse. I was reminded of how apprehensive I was when I first visited the nurses over my nose-healing and how I have come to trust them. My enormous thanks for all their help over the years.

I was also struck by the dogged hard work of all the doctors and nurses in the Melbourne during my brief stay. In spite of being run off their feet, they remained cheerful and helpful throughout. My gratitude to all of them. I've now removed the dressing from the angioplasty and all seems well with that, and I've had notice of the next one on 3 November. The pre-op visit is 29 October, so I'm going to have three days of visits to the Melbourne Hospital: 27 October for the start of a series of Cardiac Rehabilitation sessions, 28 October for a regular Renal visit, then 29 October for Pre-Op. Too much hospital!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Angioplasty at last

I went yesterday morning to my rescheduled angioplasty (insertion of stent). This time everything went smoothly, the procedure was very easy and the only bad part was having to remain still on my back for hours and hours. There was a delay in the arrival of a doctor to remove the sheath, which is meant to happen after about four hours, but in fact didn't happen until eight hours after, by which time I was getting a bit tired of lying still with nothing to do. However, my impatience was tempered when a very frazzled young doctor arrived, commenced the procedure which involves applying pressure to the entry point to prevent bleeding for twenty minutes. While doing this, she had numerous frantic phone calls, including a code red (patient's life in danger) while muttering a list of all the things she still had to do. I felt very sorry for her. (This at 11.30pm.)

My dialysis helper arrived some time in the wee small hours (it couldn't be done till the sheath was removed) so I had a change in the middle of the night, then another at breakfast time, by which time I could get up and do it myself. I was discharged later in the morning with new blood-thinning medicaments to add to the pharmacy on our kitchen bench. Now after a mid-day change, I might have a snooze to make up for the broken sleep last night.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ian Potter Gallery

In spite of it being a bit chill, on Sunday P. and I went to the Ian Potter Gallery at Melbourne Uni., mainly to see the Basil Sellers Art Prize. You might be surprised to know that this prize is for art dealing with sport, but the range of artwork was sufficiently broad to be of interest. Especially good were four photographs by Ponch Hawkes and a video by Tarryn Gill & Pilar Mata Dupont showing a fifties (?) gymnasium scene to rousing band music. There were lots of other good works, plus some gems from the permanent collection, a special exhibition of the work of Tim Jones, of guess-what Welsh origin, plus the usual archaeological treasures.

We then had lunch at Brunetti's, which these days is a bit like a modern Coles cafeteria, with a very efficient system for delivery of food and drink. My seafood crepe was quite passable with lots of prawns and scallops for the price.

In the evening, Frank came for tea and P. made a Malouf fish and beans with lots of spices. It was delicious and we finished with two icecreams, my raspberry and Glendowring licorice. I'm now girding my loins (almost literally) for the angioplasty this afternoon.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bookish times

On Thursday night, P. and I went to Frank's for dinner: two delicious curries followed by fresh fruits. On Friday, Barry D. came round for lunch, a bit late after being caught in traffic. We had Stefano's minestrone soup and a good chat.

In the evening, on an incredibly wet, cold and bleak Melbourne night, I headed off for Reading's, Hawthorn for the launch of Ian Britain's one-volume edition of the Donald Friend diaries. It was a very busy launch with a good dialogue with Ian about the making of the book and the discovery of two missing diaries. As always, it is fatal for me to go into a bookshop. As well as the diaries, I got a three-CD set of Edith Piaf which was on special.

Afterwards, P. and I went across the road to a Malaysian hawker place which looked very busy, justifiably, as the food was good and good value. My beef rendang defeated me as it was a huge serve, so we've brought the remnants home for tonight's tea.

On another cold and wet morning, we did the normal shopping and had a good brunch in Smith Street. We might stay inside by the fire for the rest of the weekend in spite of the sun making a feeble appearance.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


See Boire for further information about this excellent eatery and wine bar. Catherine, the owner, has an good nose for wine and food, so you shouldn't be disappointed.

Cookbook dinner

Last night, Lorraine E., P. and I went to Boire in Smith Street for a Books-for-Cooks event: a dinner and 'talk' by French restauranteur and food writer, Stephane Reynaud. It was a very pleasant evening, the restaurant/wine bar was packed out and the food and drink excellent. Particularly nice was the slow cooked beef cheek which melted in the mouth, and the wonderful chocolate and orange dessert. Unfortunately, Stephane's English was not up to much. He would have been better talking in French. However, no matter. Zillions of his cookbooks were sold, solely on the basis of charisma and presence.

We were seated with three people associated with a Peninsula winery who were very good company. The staff of Boire worked very hard keeping everything running smoothly on a night which surely must have tested their resources sorely. The wine at Boire is mainly French and a touch on the pricey side, though not as extortionate as some eateries. The package for dinner and wine was very reasonable considering what was delivered.

This section of Smurf Street is now turning very trendy. There is an interesting Wasabi eatery next door, then the new Easy Tiger next. Just down the road is an intriguing Ethiopian eatery. And across the road the below-mentioned Huxtable. So there are plenty of places to try, none of which look as though they will break the bank. Now for some work to pay for all this gobbling.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Much lunching again

I don't often have lunch out, but have three times in the last few days (as well as the very pleasant Huxtable lunch below). Two were at the farm cafe, the first on Friday with Jo B. to catch up on her overseas adventures, and the second on Monday, when P. took the day off to see a doctor and was home in time for lunch. Both days, the farm was very busy with lots of sprogs (as Peter pointed out, it is the Children's Farm, so you can hardly ban them). Both days it was sunny and very pleasant sitting out opposite the river watching the trees and the chooks, goats, lambs and pigeons. Some of the pigeons and chooks have learned to forage in the cafe area. The chooks are well looked after, plump and healthy looking.

Yesterday, Carmel B. came down from the country for some shopping and a dentist visit, so we went for lunch at Huxtable. This time, I had the full bit, a couple of small entrees and a main, the yellowfish sashimi, which was delicious. Carmel had the roast pumpkin with cheese and pinenuts. It was a very pleasant lunch: I'll be back.

Yet another lunch on Friday with Barry D. probably at the farm again. The food there is good but not great, but the location wins out every time.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Huxtable: a new eatery

After a farmers' market and mall shopping, P., Frank, Lorraine and I went to Huxtable, the new eatery at the end of Lorraine's street, in Smith Street for lunch. Their menu provides a range of smaller and medium dishes. Lorraine and I chose the very small and had a range of tapas-type eateries. Especially good were the little croquettes with jalapeno and cheese, quite hot and tasty. I also had some quail terrine which was good and some mozarella balls which were a bit bland. All in all, excellent. P. and Frank had trout and salmon, both of which looked good. With a glass of wine, it was all good value at around 25 dollars each and a very convival atmosphere. We will return.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Much more medical

As Helen, one of the nurses at the Collingwood Health Centre, said, 'It's a lot of work being sick.' It certainly takes a deal of time. On Tuesday, I waited around for my fortnightly delivery of dialysis supplies from Fresenius, then on Wednesday went to the home dialysis centre in Parkville bearing a bottle of 24-hour urine and all of the previous days dialysis bags. They retain these for analysis (which takes a week or two) and also changed my dialysis lead, took blood, weight and blood pressure and gave me a general check. Apart from some slight fluid buildup, I got a koala stamp but we await the analyses of the goodies.

On Thursday, I went to the health centre for my fortnightly blood-boosting injection and to collect some pills. By way of compensation, I went to a free lunchtime concert at the Potter Gallery at Melbourne Uni. It was part of the Spring Early Music Festival and consisted of two Sonatas for three baroque flutes and two duets for baroque flute and violin. The composers were Vella (a Maltese composer) whose work is being studied by Richard Divall, and Quantz, a German, whose work is being studied by flautist Greg Dikmans and violinist Lucinda Moon, who were also performers, along with flautists Alison Catanach and Jennifer Brian. The concert was very enjoyable in the gallery environment with modern Australian paintings.

Back at the ranch, I am nearly finished perusing all of the conference papers, which turned out to be more rewarding than I expected so I hope my quote is accepted and I can get going on them.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Anyone can whistle

On Sunday night, P. and I went to Noel T.'s for dinner. He is back from a very successful playing of his one-man show in Edinburgh and a visit to New York, lucky thing. It was a very pleasant dinner of rendang, chicken and eggplant dishes followed by icecream. We were joined for dinner by Lorraine E. and friends of Noel's Stephen and Michelle. She is doing a portrait of Noel.

On Monday, after a good Malayan dinner in the Queen Victoria Building, P., Frank and I went to the last of the Sondheim trilogy, the very peculiar Anyone Can Whistle. It was the most dated of the three revivals and had a mysterious plot revolving around the 'Cookie Jar', an asylum in a small U.S. town. Though the references to K.D. Laing and corruption had a certain resonance, really the entire plot was quite silly. However, it was a very competent performance and it was good to see a show which it would be folly to do a full production of.

Now back to work on the conference papers, just for a read-through, nothing very onerous.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Busy day

Phew! Saturday was very busy. There was no market but we went early to pick up Sarina the Wagon from Westgarth, then went tellie shopping to replace the bung tellie (set-top box is kaput so we decided it was time to go digital and high definition). Then off to the mall, where, as well as shopping, P. was checked out for new specs. Then off home to drop the shopping and do a change, then drop the car and meet Kit, Ben and Fiona at Charcoal Lane for lunch.

All that, and it's only 1pm. The Charcoal Lane lunch was predictably good, though the place was very quiet, perhaps because of the Grand Final replay. No worries.

In the evening, after a good, cheap Japanese at Yoriyogi in the city, we went to Verdi's Requiem. It was a very fine performance with excellent soloists, especially Rosamund Illing, Fiona Janes and Joshua Bloom (whom we saw recently in La Somnambula). The giant crashings of the 'Dies Irae' were very impressive, particularly from the second row.

Now for a quieter Sunday. I have to do a quote for a book of conference papers and we have to get the tellie working (no time yesterday).